SNAs: sacrificing the neuro-atypical

Disclaimer: I am not in a good mood with the people driving the bus. If you’d prefer sunshine right now, maybe come back another time.

It’s a big, scary world when you’re a little person. Things just are. They’ve always been. They don’t change. Big people know best and must be trusted. Daddy’s hand and mummy’s arms are the safest places in the world.

Occupy Wall Street for as long as you like. Just don’t get cocky.

If you’re lucky, you get to hold on to that trust for a few years. You get your disappointments handed to you in bearable increments. You might even get to sensible, middle-classed middle age before you get the shock of being arrested for peaceful, legal protest in the land of the free. in your home town, as Naomi Wolf was in New York last night. ‘…if DHS [the Department of Homeland Security] now has powers to simply take over a New York City street because of an arrest for peaceable conduct by a middle-aged writer in an evening gown, we have entered a stage of the closing of America, which is a serious departure from our days as a free republic.’ Lucky you, Naomi, in one bitter sense, that you got quite so long out of the illusion. Don’t worry. You’re certainly not alone. We’re through the looking glass with you.

Kicking our SNAs out with the baby

Closer to home Anonymous Writer, posting on The Anti Room, is under no illusion as to what his or her son is losing now that the IMF, ECB and EU are telling us in Ireland what to do but not how to do it. The how we’ve been figuring out ourselves. Special Needs Assistants are being sacrificed, and the needs of the most vulnerable among us are being stripped to show what they are: expendable fringe elements. The autism, dyspraxia, severe receptive language issues, below-average IQ, motor issues and assorted other issues that Anonymous’s 15-year old son must live with, and take the scorn of his classmates for, are first on the forgettable list when it comes to squaring our debt with our external corporate masters. In his parent’s words,

But credit where it’s due. Well done Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs, Christine Lagarde, Jean-Claude Trichet and all the rest. You’ve taught our son a good lesson: divide and rule is a tried and trusted strategy. It allows you to slink out the door with all the world’s wealth while ever-willing, ingratiating foot-soldiers at the coalface get on with finishing your dirty work for you. (Funny how those foot soldiers are never in short supply, isn’t it?)

Anonymous has no doubt been keenly aware of the imbalance in life for quite some time. Speaking of foot soldiers, it doesn’t exactly give me a warm glow inside to know that our Finance Minister Michael Noonan, a man in his seventies, can mug for the cameras today and grin like a well patted monkey and tell us that the overlords will be pleased to announce tomorrow that we’re doing ever so well in paying them huge sums of money, while back home our damaged kids, and the flimsy routes through life that we’ve been trying to construct for them, will somehow have to make do, because frankly they, like our old and our sick, are lessers. This is our Serengeti migration, folks, and devil take the hindmost. The government is doing well under difficult circumstances and we all have to make sacrifices and things are improving and blah blah bullshit. It won’t save the weakest ones. And if we’re to reach above ourselves for even the merest second, we’ll do it by holding out our hand to the weakest ones. And yes I’m biased, and yes I feel it all more keenly because I have a son with special needs, but the feeling of aloneness in the face of what you once simply trusted is no different that the lurching realisation that Naomi Wolf felt in her marrow yesterday when her police came to take her away for doing no wrong.

…unfortunately, my partner and I became exhibit A in a process that I have been warning Americans about since 2007: first they come for the “other” – the “terrorist”, the brown person, the Muslim, the outsider; then they come for you – while you are standing on a sidewalk in evening dress, obeying the law.

So no, the trust is no more. The realisation that you have to fight for it all stays with you. And it makes you tired. You get inspiration and you find friends and you have brief moments when you can stop thinking about keeping the roof secure, whatever about the rattling windows, but what you do not want, what you absolutely cannot tolerate, is wanton cruelty from respected people in privileged positions. But that’s in the next post.